Tag Archives: BIG BAD BOLLOCKS

Big Bad Bollocks: Hanged at Gibbet Rock

Originally released in 1991, Big Bad Bollocks’ Hanged at Gibbet Rock has been re-released on the “Load a’Bollocks” label for 2008 and available through the bands website, along with their other fine products.

“…Gibbet Rock” starts off as strongly as any Bollocks release, (or even as strongly as any young Paddy-Punk band can hope to,) with the song “Whiskey in me tea” (and for an idea about what I mean, check out the video on YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHNQ4BGjskc,) and keeps up that pace through the disc’s ten tracks including a beautiful rendition of “Sally Gordon,” and the appropriately enthusiastic standards, “Waxies Dargle” and “Leaving Liverpool.”

The original songs on this earlier release are all of the upbeat, party, “happy-drunk” variety that the Bollocks’ have become known for and have that same quality of an incidental Celtic lilt as well as lyrics that seem as much of a cathartic purging of unresolved issues as they do odes to, and about, Johnny Allen’s days gone by back home in his native Derbyshire.

There’s no denying that Mr. Allen’s got a powerful and distinct voice, and even on this earlier release his crooning bravado seems fully developed and presents as a comfortable and commanding entity directing the energy of each of the ten tracks. This does pose a bit of an inconvenience on the other instruments, however, relegating the majority of them further back in the mix, giving the disc less depth and polish than later Big Bad Bollocks’ offerings.

Although lacking the theme, finish and shine of the “Night on the Tiles’ or even the production depth of “Where the Beef Meets the Sea,” “Hanged at Gibbet Rock” presents as an early snapshot of the swaggering Johnny ‘Alien’ Allen and co. as a fledgeling outfit still developing their sound, and cruising past a point where many the lesser bands have peaked.

2008

Review by Christopher Toler, THE Blathering Gommel

Big Bad Bollocks: Night On the Tiles ( a re-review)

First off this is the first time I’ve tried to review a album so go easy on me. That and I never got around to finishing high school and learning that grammar and spelling BS. Anyways, On to the review. You might know John Allen (lead singer of BBB) as the guy playing whistle and singing with DKM on there song “Far Away Coast” That’s the first time I heard him at least.
The bands lineup consists of John (Vocals, Whistle, Squeezebox), Pino (Guitar, vocals, keys), Ernie Wilson (Bass/Vocals) And Sal Vega (Drums) which Is a fairly light mix of traditional instruments compared to most of the Irish rock bands out there. At least half of the tunes on the CD have no or hardly any trad instruments at all. The bollocks however can outplay (and probably out drink) most of those bands easily, using a mix of great music writing lyrical storytelling and plain craziness.
To me the bands style makes me think of Irish folk, some good old fashioned rock ‘n roll with some great football terrace choruses thrown in there. All the whistle/accordion driven riffs, Rolling Stones esque guitar and Oi! Oi!’s you could ask for.
So a little about some of the songs:  Big Bad Bollocks is the bands anthem and sports a awesome driving accordion riff, ‘The pubs of Liverpool’ and ‘Drunker than I was’ could possibly be two of the best songs to swing a pint through the air to. ‘Motorcycle jacket’ is a distorted guitar driven song of teen angst, and ‘Night on the tiles’ chronicles all to well the mess that I and probably most of you find ourselves in every weekend night. 
All in all this album is the best that I’ve found in a quite awhile. It stands out from the crowd of folk rock and doesn’t really sound like any other band I’ve listened to before (in a good way) Defiantly going in my top 8 folk rock albums.
Its really a shame that information and music for these guys is almost impossible to find.

August 2005

By Ben Taylor

Big Bad Bollocks: Night On the Tiles

The Big Bad Bollocks are the East Coast answer to a combination of the Macc Lads and the Pogues. (To steal a pretty much accurate description I once read.) BBB, however, come across as a more traditional English group on the piss (utilizing mainly squeezebox and tin whistle for the folky stuff) and things are expressed from a decidedly English point of view.

Johnny ‘Alien’ Allen is a Liverpool transplant/poet/playwright whose views and viewpoint can be summed up nicely in the title of their second album, “Night On the Tiles.” Released in 1999 on Monlyth records, it’s a drunken good time, with attitude, wit and a bit o’ heart as well. With songs that range from a tribute to everyone’s favorite “Guinness,” to a rollicking ode “Drinkup Yabastards” and the sea-shanty-ish “Drunker Than I Was” (it being a grand example of a whiskey-fueled roll in the hay) it’s not hard to gauge the album’s main creative fuel. The BBB do love a good drink, but are more-talented than you may think Allen’s playwright background turns more serious on “Uncle Ted”, a tale of working class hell and the sheer dead-on descriptive-ness of “Aunty Mary” makes you laugh your arse off and wonder where Allen comes up with it all. Then they can rock-n-roll like a demented Buddy Holly on “Motorcycle Jacket” and the Cockney/English music hall tradition pops up in “Tiddly Om Pom”…a great little ditty.

All in all, the album would fit in very nicely playing over the speakers in your local pub’s loo, as you release another night’s hard work and chuckle with relief. Pick it up and slam it back, it’s your ’round. (Also check out their first EP “Where the Beef Meets the Sea” and if possible, their split 7″ with the now defunct oi legends All Systems Stop.)

August 2001

Review by Sean Holland